Sarah in 1899
Ladies rarely sit with one leg up
Or the other in the water; Sarah did not care.
Her cat Willoughby had followed her onto this ledge.
She dangled her right foot in the water.
Glad she wore pants now, especially if it scared away suitors.
She had a keen sense she was shocking old women from windows
The ones who never smiled or waved, but stared and scowled,
Thinking they were better than her or her Daddy
Because they had a man in their bedrooms.
The water felt cool and refreshing!
She was not willing to give up her rights or her body.
Papa had left her plenty of money, in her own name.
Scandalous! The solicitor had said. It made her laugh.
She really missed papa, but loved what he had done for her.
Other women her age became property of other men.
Many were forced to marry old toothless corpulent lecherous fools.
Sarah’s own cousin was trying to trick her into signing over Papa’s money.
She was too wise to fall for it, but still it troubled her a bit.
An unscrupulous lawyer might make trouble.
Maybe we should go to America she suggested to Willoughby.
She had a cousin there, a female who danced on Broadway.
Who lived with whom she wanted when she wanted.
Who took no orders or suggestions from any cousins.
Male or otherwise. Today, with her leg in the water,
She decided to change her destiny.
Copyright © Caren Krutsinger | Year Posted 2021
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